Top Attractions of Western Australia

April 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Attractions, Enchanting Oceania

Western Australia is one of the major tourist attraction for travelers looking for wilderness and adventure, and rightfully so. The area is huge but very sparsely populated – just 2.1 million inhabitants with almost three-quarters of them living in Perth. And yet, the area covers more than one-third of the whole Australian land mass. This is the perfect recipe for travelers looking for peace and quiet, to experience wilderness like nowhere else and re-align your tired body and mind with the nature. So, what are you waiting for? Get searching for the cheapest flights to Australia and give your stressed mind a well-deserved break in this land of adventure!

Scenic Perth

Start out your adventure in Perth, famed for its blue skies, stunning natural scenery and friendly, spirited people. The city of Perth is built on the banks of Swan River and flanked by scenic highlights such as the King Parks and the Botanic Gardens. The carefree city offers various activities and attractions – you can go parasailing over the sparkling Swan River, stroll through Kings Park and admire the city’s skyline, or visit the beach. The city is the perfect place for a holiday, and make for a great way to the start of your Australian west coast adventure.

Colorful birds and beautiful Australian wildflowers are just a few minutes away from the city center in Kings Park. Over 400 hectares of parklands and natural bush is spread for you to explore and enjoy, as well as a great spot at the top of Mount Eliza to enjoy a picnic and admire the sweeping Perth skyline. You can also visit the Aboriginal Art Gallery, or rent a bike to explore the park. The city of Perth also boast 19 metropolitan beaches, each with its own special atmosphere. These make for a great spot to watch the sunset, or to have a splash out in the waters of Indian Ocean. Some of the more popular beaches are Scarborough, Trigg, Port, and Cottesloe.

To the south of Perth is the precinct city of Fremantle, a colorful area that truly comes alive during the weekends. Street performers, fresh farmers markets and alfresco cafes dot the area, a popular quick getaway destination for local tourists. Aromas of fragrant spices wafts tantalizingly in the air as the markets hum with colorful crafts, antiques and fresh food and produce. Fremantle is easily accessible from the city, either by train or through a Swan River Cruise, and is definitely worth a visit.

Another popular quick getaway from Perth is the Peel Region, which lies less than an hour away from the city of Perth. Boasting sandy beaches and crystal clear waters of the coast to the rugged terrain of Darling Scarp, the region offers something for every type of adventure lovers. Whitewater rafting, swimming with the dolphins, hiking and trekking, all these activities and more are available in the region. There is also the popular Peel Inlet and Harvey Estuary which is known for its good fishing, crabbing and prawning.

Margaret River

Towards the south of Perth is the Margaret River region, a charming scenic landscape boasting world-class wineries and boutique breweries. But the main attraction for adventurers would be the pounding surf breaks and the spectacular scenery. Mother Nature has created an exceptional gallery here in the form of networks of underground caves, turquoise waters and rugged natural coastline. Trekkers would undoubtedly enjoy walking the various coastal trails available here, as well as pay a visit to the historic Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, situated at the most south-westerly tip of Australia with its dramatic cliffs and rocks. Explore the stalactite decorating Ngilgi and Jewel Caves, the ancient fossil remains of Mammoth Cave, and admire the Karri Trees, the third tallest trees in the world, at the Boranup Forest.

For the surf lovers, powerful waves hammer through 40 kilometers of Margaret River’s coastline, with Surfer’s Point promising excellent swells and first-class waves. There are also a boat-load of other activities available for your convenience – from water-skiing and canoeing to windsurfing and rock-climbing. This combination of great surf, fine food and wine, spectacular scenery and a naturally diverse region allows Margaret River to emerge as one of the world’s top travel destinations.

Shark Bay World Heritage Area

On the other side of Perth is the Kalbarri National Park, located on the lower reaches of the Murchison River, filled with magnificent gorges, rolling sand plains and dramatic sea cliffs. Here is the area of Shark Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with natural attractions and travel highlights.

Visit Shell Beach, a long stretch of snow-white beach popular for swimming, beach combing and relaxing in the sunshine. The aptly named attraction is formed from millions of shells, a truly unique destination. Over the years, the shells have used to construct a number of historic buildings in the nearby town of Denham, deep in the heart of Shark Bay and springboard to various nearby attractions.

Another such attraction is Monkey Mia, one of Australia’s most talked-about destinations where wild bottle-nose dolphins swim around your legs just off the beach. Here, the beautiful beaches complement the warm sea, superb fishing and fascinating wildlife to create a electrifying destination. The Hamelin Pool is another local wonder, filled with hyper-saline water and rocks that are actually alive – they are marine stromatolites, slow growing organisms that have existed for at least 3,5 billion years.

Coral Coast

Finally, you can head towards the Coral Coast, a coastline region that is home to unique rock formations of the Pinnacles and the internationally renowned Ningaloo Marine Park, an amazing area for diving and fishing all your round. With its world-class waters filled with marine life, Ningaloo Marine Park is an Australian icon, and one of the few places in the world where you can take a tour and swim with the world’s largest fish – the whale shark.

The Marine Park covers a massive area of 5,000 square kilometres of ocean, stretching 260 kilometres from Budegi Reef near Exmouth to Amherst Point near Coral Bay. Here, you can wade into the crystal clear water at Turquoise Bay and you will be immediately within distance to reef formations that is home to more than 500 species of tropical fish and 220 species of corals, as well as dolphins, dugongs, manta-rays and turtles. Few areas in the world can match the region for its aquatic life and excellent water visibility.

This reputation as one of Earth’s last ocean paradises have seen Ningaloo Marine Park awarded numerous tourism awards, and have always been one of the more popular travel destinations in Australia. The area has also been nominated to be enshrined as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Travelers can base themselves at the small fishing towns of Exmouth and Coral Bay, both of which have retained their original flavor and a relaxed, down-to-earth vibe.

A Day in Perth

October 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Culture, Enchanting Oceania, General Fun

The beautiful city of Perth is a modern tourist’s delight. Vibrant and colorful, the City of Lights is located alongside the peaceful waters of the Swan River, bustling with activity and a wide range of attractions to suit all tastes. The atmosphere in Perth is one that is laid-back and relaxing, friendly and welcoming – here are a few highlights from this Friendly City to whet your traveling appetite!

Photo credits - Looking Glass

Photo credits - Looking Glass

Swan Valley Vineyard

This fact may come as a surprise, especially to the French who are very proud of their wine – Australia is now the largest wine exporter to England, and the second largest wine exporter to the US. Mere years ago, the thought of Australian wine would bring a scoff to connoisseurs of this high-end indulgence, but not anymore! In the city of Perth, travelers can visit various vineyards who produces these fine wines, and the Swan Valley Vineyard is one such wineries.

Visitors can enjoy a leisurely trek along the rows and rows of vineyards and stay at one of the various rustic lodgings and accommodations on offer. Naturally, you can also enjoy great tasting wine at extremely affordable prices. If you have the time and budget, make sure to enjoy a romantic cruise down the River Swan to take in a relaxing view of the entire valley.

Photo credits - JoshBerglund19

Photo credits - JoshBerglund19

Caversham Wildlife Park

Kangaroos are a common sight in Perth. In fact, most locals would invariably have a tale to share about how they’ve seen the cuddly animals crosses the street, or even accidentally hit one. For tourists, visiting the Caversham Wildlife Park is a sure way to meet Australia’s national icon, as well as various other animals unique to the Australian locale, such as koalas, Tazmanian devils, dingoes and barking owls.

One of the must do things here is to come in close contact with the wombats, and perhaps even carry one! Children will be sure to enjoy riding the camels and trying their hand at milking cows, amongst various other attractions. The Carvsham Wildlife Park is home to up to 2000 animals, a perfect getaway for families wanting to enjoy nature and wildlife.

Photo credits - treyguinn

Photo credits - treyguinn

Freemantle Harbor

The Freemantle Harbor is always bustling and crowded, both at sea – with boats and cruise ships anchoring at the pier – and in land, where both locals and foreign tourists can be seen flocking together to enjoy a variety of food and good fun. The area boasts a large number of restaurants serving all kinds of seafood offerings that will whet your appetite and fill you up.

Not far from the Harbor, there is also an open space that are often used to hold public festivals. Check it out if you’re there, and if you’re lucky you may just stumble to a local festival or party for your enjoyment! Be sure to enjoy the fresh sea breeze and the scenic afternoon view of Perth.

Photo credits - PascalSubtil

Photo credits - PascalSubtil

Cappuccino Strip

Not far from the Freemantle Harbor is South Terrace, a street lined up with various cafes, restaurants, and pubs serving all kinds of food and drinks. The locals fondly calls the area Cappuccino Strip, tho that is most definitely not the only thing you can find here. The Cappucino Strip is a great place to enjoy your food al-fresco, and you can also expect various cultural festivals, such as the South Terrace Carnival and Festival Parade. The area is a popular hub for creative talents, who often hold exhibitions and shows gracing various venues nearby.

If You Go

Perth is easily accessible and has a friendly weather all year round. Spring starts in September, while December to the end of February is summer, the best time to visit the beach. If you want to experience a little cold weather, go from June to August, but be warned that it may rain quite often.

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Rockingham, Your Aquatic Playground

March 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Enchanting Oceania

They say Perth is the most isolated city in the world, a fact that gives the impression of a lonely city in the middle of nowhere, far from civilization and any other vestiges of humanity. But in truth Perth’s surroundings leave visitors spoiled for choice for ideas for a driving holiday.

Whichever direction you travel there are fresh and different destinations to explore and quaint holiday resorts set amidst beautiful scenery.

The Rockingham beach is popular with kids. Photo credit - AAAlain.

The Rockingham beach is popular with kids. Photo credit - AAAlain.

On a recent visit to Perth I decided to take a day out and head south to the vibrant and growing coastal centre of Rockingham. The 50 kilometers run down the Kwinana Highway took me about 45 minutes, and although I was expecting just another seaside resort the general feeling of the town and the outstanding scenery gave me a pleasant surprise.

The standout feature and the basis for much of the recreational activity are the beaches. The main beach is Rockingham beach, a white expanse that borders the smooth waters of the Cockburn Sound. Not as crowded as I thought it would be on a summers day, its a great beach for swimming and has a very family atmosphere. There is a wide, concrete cycle-way running up its length that will please exercise junkies, and on the grassy foreshore there are a number of picnic and barbeque areas.

The beach runs down to Point Peron, and below the point is Shoalwater Bay Beach, which is popular because we are allowed to walk our furry four-legged friends on it. Below that beach we come to Warnbro Sound, where apparently there is a nudist beach at Port Kennedy, at the south of the town.

Point Peron. Photo credit - Candice Lee.

Point Peron. Photo credit - Candice Lee.

The slogan that Rockingham has used to promote their tourism is “Your Aquatic Playground”, so much of the recreational activity is water based. The diving and the snorkeling is apparently spectacular although I didn’t do any of it myself, and it is easy to hire the necessary gear and to hire other equipment like jet-skis and tinnies. Tinnies are the transport of choice for fishermen who frequent the bays, coves and beaches of the shoreline trying their luck for the many species here. Jew-fish grow especially large, and are a popular prey.

Point Peron is a popular fishing spot as well, as it has lots of rocky feature and borders a large sandy bay. Its also a great place for a walk, as most of it is a nature reserve and there are a number of footpaths that criss cross the point. Another haunt for fishermen is the jetty at Palm Beach, which has a very tasty deli right next door.

Fairy penguings in Penguing Island. Photo credit - rosswebsdale (top) and Spiros2004 (bottom).

Fairy penguings in Penguing Island. Photo credit - rosswebsdale (top) and Spiros2004 (bottom).

There are a few islands lying off the coastline that are popular amongst tourists seeking a days adventure. Penguin Island lies 700 meters off shore and is home to a colony of fairy penguins from March through to December. You are also likely to see the other local resident, the Australian Sea Lion, on your tour of the island which departs from Mersey Point just south of the township.

There are a few islands lying off the coastline that are popular amongst tourists seeking a days adventure. Penguin Island lies 700 meters off shore and is home to a colony of fairy penguins from March through to December. You are also likely to see the other local resident, the Australian Sea Lion, on your tour of the island which departs from Mersey Point just south of the township.

Further offshore is the larger Garden Island, which is over 10 kilometers in length and has a shoreline which contains an exciting mix of beaches and bays. A haven for wildlife, look out for the native tammar wallaby while you are there.

I was impressed by the upbeat vibe of Rockingham. This is a town that is clearly looking to the future, especially if the huge developments taking place at the Waterfront are anything to go by.

I’d expect that as the Perth city-sprawl extends outwards there will be little to differentiate between Rockingham, Fremantle and Perth, but something tells me that even as this happens it will still hold onto those qualities that make it a classy and peaceful seaside resort. I hope so anyway!

About the Author. Gavin Wyatt. A journalist with a passion for travel. Originally from Zambia he has traveled around the world to end up on the sunny shores of Australia. For more of his articles visit Perth Car Hire.